A step backward: Negaunee Miners unable to sustain quality play in mercy-rule hockey loss to Calumet

Negaunee’s Alex Duquette, left, defends in the Miners’ zone as Calumet’s Izaak Avery, right, vies for the puck Tuesday night at the Negaunee Ice Arena. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

NEGAUNEE — The Calumet Copper Kings have really made a name for themselves their past few games, and on Tuesday, they made a big statement with the postseason tournament approaching.

Calumet (10-5-1) scored less than two minutes into the game and never looked back as it defeated Negaunee 8-0 with the game called after two periods. Daylen Anderson scored two goals for the Copper Kings and goalie Alex Studebaker made 15 saves.

“We did well offensively,” Calumet head coach Dan Giachino said. “Our top line has been doing a lot of our scoring, but our other lines contributed as well tonight. That was nice to see.

“I think we’re playing pretty well as a team. We started out 0-4 and we’re 10-1-1 since then, so we’re feeling pretty good. We still have room to grow, so we have to get better. Hopefully, we can be at our peak come playoff time.”

For Negaunee (6-8), it was a tough loss to take after the Miners gave defending state champion Hancock a good battle in their previous game.

“They came to play and we didn’t, plain and simple,” Miners head coach Josh Chapman said. “After we had such a great game against Hancock, I thought maybe we’re turning the corner for the season. Instead, we reverted back to running around and not playing proper hockey. This is what happens when you don’t show up ready to play.”

Calumet got on the board when Anderson took a backdoor pass from Trevor Johnson and scored into an open net. Two minutes later, the Copper Kings struck again, this time on a wrister from Johnson.

Negaunee got its first good opportunity while on its initial power play. Shane Ring made a cross-ice pass to Neal Violetta, but Studebaker just got a piece of it to keep the Miners off the board.

The Copper Kings padded their lead later in the first period with two goals just 20 seconds apart. The first was from Edward Beiring, who beat Negaunee goalie Preston Maki glove-side, while Samuel Erkkila picked up the next one. Maki was then pulled for Nolan Corwin.

Corwin played well early in the second as he denied Beiring on a shot to the far post in the opening seconds, and a few moments later, made two saves off a scrum in front of his net. Negaunee also had two great chances to score as Violetta’s shot on a power play was just kicked aside by Studebaker, and later on that possession, a bouncing puck trickled just wide of the Copper Kings’ net.

Calumet’s shots on the other hand, continued to find the back of the twine. Anderson scored again at the 7:17 mark on a rebound over Corwin’s blocker and a minute later, Rory Anderson put the Copper Kings up 6-0.

Brent Loukus scored for the Calumet just 25 seconds after Anderson, and Matthew Yeo then finished off the Copper Kings’ scoring output with a one-timer at the 11:08 mark.

On Thursday, Calumet plays against Kingsford, while Negaunee hosts Houghton.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.